The Nujel’m Conflict
This is a summary of events that took place between *** and ***. During this time, the Kingdom of Britannia faced a unique threat – not from a mystical artifact or a powerful demon, but rather a cunning man determined to seize power. Though it is not necessary, it may be useful to read the summary for “The Path Forward” as that is where many of the characters in this story are introduced. This is a very brief summary – all Guards who filed a report and wish it to be added to this summary are invited to submit a copy of the text for inclusion.
This story has a seemingly simple beginning. Trade between Britannia’s cities had increased dramatically as internal relations returned to normal with the crowning of a new King. This increase in trade, however, also gave rise to an increase in banditry. Oftentimes convoys did not reach their destination – the King’s own craftsmen were killed on their way to build a new market in Trinsic. Captain Olivia was determined to put a stop to these criminal, and violent, actions, ordering the King’s Guard to begin seeking out the bandits and bring them to justice. Caught in a sudden blitz by the Guard, the bandit threat was handled quickly. The victory was not decisive, however, as rumor spread of a new leader of the bandits – The Pirate Jor.
It would not be long before Jor began rebuilding his forces, recruiting new pirates, brigands, and mercenaries. Investigator Thorpe’s detectives learned of this recruiting, and met with Jor in disguise, learning of his plan – the robbery of the Vesper Mint. With this information in hand, Lieutenant Jeffrey planned a trap. Some of the Guard would continue to associate with Jor, and accompany him on the robbery. The rest would lie in wait, surrounding the mint. In addition, the bank manager, Karel DeMaje, found a noble who agreed to use his own wealth to further entice the robbers. The plan was simple, and success more or less assumed. What they didn’t count on was the craftiness of Jor.
The pirate and his group entered Vesper via moongate, very close to the bank. They quickly entered through mysteriously unlocked vaults, and looted the mint. Striding out of the bank, Jor loudly boasted that he would not be caught. Just as the Guard sprung their trap, a moongate glowing a dark red appeared. Jor escaped through it, along with many of his accomplices. The Guard gave immediate chase, finding themselves emerging along the mountain pass to Dungeon Deceit in Felucca. Standing before them was Jor, taunting once more – it was not the Guard who had laid a trap, but Jor himself. A battle immediately ensued, with Jor calling for his true followers to reveal themselves. Two of those who entered the mint with him stepped forward to claim their loyalty. One, an archer, announced identified herself, quite curiously, as Grilled Cheese. The other, a thief, claimed no name but would later be accused of being none other than the sitting Governor of Jhelom.
The King’s Guard fought with Valor, but eventually retreated back to Vesper as Jor and his followers entered Deceit above and his trained dragons pushed up from below. The Guard had suffered its first defeat.
Though the battle was over, the conflict continued during the next Council meeting, as the new Governor of Jhelom, Ethan, was accused of being known as the thief “Mercury Ali,” who had sided with Jor in the fight against the Guard. Little could be done, however, as their was no conclusive proof of this claim. The actions of the Captain, Lieutenant, and Investigator came under attack as it was clear that they had been out-maneuvered, and people had died because of it. Further, the city of Vesper had suffered losses and demanded recompense.
The damage to Vesper would be repaired, and Thorpe would be temporarily relieved of his position. In the Investigator’s absence, it fell to Lieutenant Jeffrey to task the Guard with exploring the circumstances surrounding the robbery. Here, the first evidence was uncovered that there was a link between Jor and previously unknown intrigue in Nujel’m. Around this same time, various Governors were targeted by attackers who claimed to be acting on behalf of Nujel’m. The King’s numerous letters to the Sultan went unanswered, so a diplomatic envoy led by Governor’s Mare Jade and Inkboy was dispatched to Nujel’m. The envoy was welcomed by Said Halabi – the Vizier to the Sultan (this being the same man who served in an advisory capacity to a previous governing council). The Vizier’s pleasantries quickly dissolved, however, when he was pressed for details regarding the attacks. The skilled diplomats from Britannia were able to calm the situation, however, resulting in the Vizier proposing a treaty enabling the two states to work together in addressing the pirate threat. Once examined in Council, however, many believed this proposal to be a trick – something to appease Britannia while also gaining important information about the Kingdom’s naval capacity.
Two weeks after the Delegation to Nujel’m returned, the newly constructed Vesper Lighthouse was attacked and destroyed during its dedication ceremony. Arriving aboard ships with allies already in wait on land, Jor’s forces quickly swept through, leaving a path of destruction before escaping to sea. Thus begun the chase of Jor.
Where is the first place one should go when looking for a thief or a pirate? The answer seemed simple enough, so Lieutenant Jeffrey sent a fighting force to Buccaneer’s Den (after an investigation confirmed his recent presence, of course). While they were successful in finding him, once again the slippery sailor eluded capture – leaving a very large, very ANGRY aquatic dragon in his place. The dragon would be defeated, but Jor remained at large. It seemed time again for the detectives of the Guard to search for more information that might lead to his capture. The resulting efforts yielded a few clues – primarily, a description of Jor’s ship (the Kaze) was provided by the Tokunese boat captain he had stolen it from. Lightly armed, it was a fast ship that enabled him to continually out-race pursuing vessels. In addition, it was suggested by a familiar tavern resident that a thief named Joshua (who might be remembered from previous events) might have more information about Jor, as he too had been seen asking about the pirate.
A newly reinstated Thorpe was questioned about Joshua, as he was rumored to have occasional contact with him. The Guard’s lead investigator confirmed this, and told the Guard’s detectives how to contact the thief. Setting a meeting with Joshua was not an easy task, but some of the Guard’s brightest were able to do so, and met with the thief in the dead of night in a Britain basement. It was here that many questions were answered. Primarily, the nature of the roles of Juwain (as a pawn to the Vizier) and Jor (the hired help) was confirmed. Joshua also warned the Guards that a bounty had been placed on the heads of Thorpe as well as his “field agent,” whose existence had been kept secret by Thorpe (and for safety reasons, his identity shall not be revealed here!). When asked how he knew so much about the plot, he cryptically explained that he wanted to see Jor captured, as he had broken the “Thieves’ Code” and wronged his father.
With this knowledge in hand, things began to move quickly. The merits of various plans were debated in Council meetings, and the Guard continued to search for Jor. It would not be until “Lord” Juwain of Nujel’m arrived in Britain, however, that there would seem to be hope for resolution. He entered the Council chamber prior to the start of a meeting, and surrendered. He offered all the knowledge he had, asking only that when the time came to fight the Vizier, his sister Altas would be saved from her imprisonment. The Governors in attendance (the King had not yet arrived) agreed to hold him under guard in the castle until he could be interrogated.
The interrogation took place a short while later. Lieutenant Jeffrey placed Keenbadger (the highest ranking enlistee in the King’s Guard) and Tobias Cardont (who had played an integral role in prior investigations) in charge of the interrogation as well as any immediate actions they believed needed to be taken in light of anything Juwain said. It was during this questioning that it was learned that Lady Constance DeMaje of Vesper had aided the Vizier in orchestrating the burglary of the Vesper mint. Juwain himself had been sent by the Vizier to seduce Lady Constance, though he would prove to be the one to fall for her. He was heartbroken to learn that he was but a pawn, that Lady Constance was already in league with the Vizier, and that Juwain himself was being set up as a potential scapegoat. Further, he re-affirmed that the Sultan had indeed been kidnapped, and that the only people to know his location was the Jor and the Vizier. The Vizier’s plan was to provoke an attack on either Nujel’m (as the one in the Old Lands had not been left the same way Britannian cities had) and to kill the Sultan and blame it on the Britannians – hoping it would help him control the populace. One bright point (of a sort) was that it seemed Constance’s current husband, Karel, was in fact innocent of any wrongdoing (he was previously a suspect in the robbery).
Keenbadger and Tobias decided that the Lady of Vesper needed to be arrested immediately. They set off immediately with the rest of the Guards in attendance, only to find that she was not in Vesper. Knowing that she originally hailed from Cove, they set off through the woods until the reached the tall gates of the small hamlet nestled in the mountains to the southwest of Vesper. The Guard quickly found Lady Constance on the docks where she shouted defiantly at them. Believing it be better to perish as a noblewoman than to spend her life in a cell she turned to throw herself over the mooring ropes into the water. Suspecting her intentions, Tobias Cardont was in movement by the time she turned, and was able to restrain her. She was returned to the castle and put under guard, remaining defiant and refusing to answer any of the Guards questions with anything other than snark.
The results of the interrogation where reported to the Council of Governors, and again possible action was endlessly debated. To make matters worse, an old foe, The Hand, had returned to Yew intending to lay claim to it. A battle on two fronts now seemed imminent, making it vital to move quickly on the Vizier in order to prevent more attacks on Britannia from his mercenaries and Feluccian allies. The King ordered a War Committee formed in order to determine a course of action. Governors Frey of Jhelom, Thom of Trinsic, and Bytor of Vesper sat on the committee and organized a meeting at which others may also present their ideas. The result was a request for another investigation in hopes of locating the Sultan (and locating Jor as a secondary objective), and then moving on the Vizier with whatever force seemed appropriate.
The resulting investigation did not result in the recovery of the Sultan, but Jor’s hiding place had been discovered. Knowing he was being pursued by both the Guard and the Vizier’s forces (the Vizier wanted him dead so he could not reveal the location of the Sultan should he be captured), Jor left a note for the Guards implying he would help the Britannians if they could stop the Vizier’s men. His hideout no longer secret, he abandoned it, mentioning he would be staying with new “friends” who could be quite violent.
Following up on this, the Guard was to muster by the King himself, commanding all present to capture Jor and bring him to Britain. The Guard (as well as non-regular adventurers) met with Lieutenant Jeffrey in Moonglow and discussed potential places to look for Jor in the Lost Lands. At the suggestion of Tobias Cardont, it was decided to seek out the tribal people near the City of the Dead. Upon arriving in Papua, however, they were shocked to find the town under attack by the Vizier’s forces. Word came to them that Delucia was also facing an attack as the brigands, pirates, and former Faction warriors searched for Jor. Before continuing, the Guard would have to first protect the people of Papua and Delucia.
Ridding both towns of the invaders, the assembled group of Guards and adventurers set out for the tribal people of the Lost Lands. When they arrived it was quickly made apparent that they were not the only ones to suspect Jor of hiding amongst the tribal people – former servants of the Shadowlords and Minax, now under command of Vizier Halabi, had already begun battle with the tribe. The Britannians entered the fray, fending off the dark wizards and angry tribal peoples until Jor appeared, fleeing from an assassin, Renault. Once Renault was defeated, Jor was taken into custody and brought back to Britannia, to answer to King Blackthorn.
Even in the presence of the King of Britannia, Jor the Pirate still retained his sense of arrogance. He did agree, however, to tell the King the location of the Sultan so long as he would not be put to death for his crimes. To this, the King agreed, and Jor revealed where the Sultan was being kept – in Nujel’m itself, on Felucca. In (under?) the cemetery, to be precise. Jor was then escorted to a cell in the prison in Yew.
This is a recap of the events and fiction that make up the “Benambra’s Trail” story arc that began in May of 2013. The story involves the legacy of the adventurer Benambra – and the riches he acquired over a lifetime. 300 years after last being seen, Detective Thorpe and Lieutenant Jeffrey follow his trail in hopes of finding the one treasure Benambra seemingly couldn’t live without…
Check back regularly for updates as the story unfolds. Please read the summary for the mini-arc “No Laughing Matter: Curse of the L-Ag” for Benambra’s introduction to our lore.
As a result of the discovery (and subsequent raid) of Benambra’s Lost Treasure, a growing interest in the mysterious adventurer’s story had been sparked. For reason he did not explain, this included King Blackthorn himself, newly installed upon the throne of Britannia. The King tasked his Viceroy, Sir Andrew (a retired knight and nobleman of Britain) to look into the rumors that Benambra may have possessed magical artifacts of great power. If they existed, they were not accounted for during the raid of Benambra’s vault, and thus must still be “out there” in the world.
His attention being split between this matter and his new station as Viceroy, Andrew turned to Lieutenant Jeffrey, formerly of the Royal Britannian Guard, and Detective Thorpe, the head of the Royal Investigators. Thorpe and Jeffrey were to work together to follow the path of Benambra’s adventures, and see if there was any truth to this talk of powerful relics. Thorpe’s investigators went to work immediately, and their efforts were soon rewarded as they found reference to Benambra in Papua, where he stopped on his way to Terra Sanctum. Upon journeying to the remote area of the Lost Lands, the investigators found a strange cult calling themselves the “Followers of the Spirit of Energy” (to Britannians, they became known as “the Menli” due to their curious habit of all sharing a variation of the same name). Once there, “Menli the Guide” informed the intrepid investigators that they would be granted access to the “Source of the Spirit of Energy” – the very artifact that Benambra sought so many years ago. The only catch was that they would have to return with a larger force, as they would need it in order to pass a series of challenges. The Menli also indicated that individuals skilled in magery would be of particular importance.
The “thinking” part of the immediate journey done, Thorpe handed the investigation over to Jeffrey, who led a sizable force to Terra Sanctum. Once there, Menli the Guide asked the group to split in two; one group was to defeat the “spirit reflections” on the surface of Terra Sanctum, while the other was to journey deep beneath it to pass a series of magery-related challenges. Once the challenges were complete, the mages were to return to the surface and summon the “Facsimile of the Spirit of Energy”. Once the Facsimile was defeated in combat, entrance would be granted to see the Source of the Spirit of Energy.
The mages were successful in completing their challenges, and after some time were able to summon the Facsimile (a familiar purple energy being that resembles a llama). The battle was fierce, but Jeffrey’s force prevailed. The Menlis congratulated the group, and granted them access to the artifact. Upon entering the chamber where it was held, however, it was discovered that the artifact was missing – and its keeper along with it! The Menlis pleaded with Jeffrey to help them, as their lives were somehow linked to “The Source” and they believed it to be too great a power to be in the wrong hands. Jeffrey agreed to help, and returned to Britain.
Thorpe’s Investigators were once again in action, now tracking down Menli the Adept who had gone missing along with The Source of the Spirit of Energy. The trail was a difficult one, but the capable sleuths were able to follow a trail of notes seemingly left by the Menli. They were from a field journal as he was investigating the true nature of The Source and its possible connection to something called “The Pentad”. His notes indicated a strange change in personality as he traveled with the The Source (which he brought with him as he thought it might be helpful, believing he could capably protect it as he indicates that the Menlis are all but impervious to harm). The trail ended in the Hedgemaze, where a final note indicates that he felt afraid – he believed he was being followed.
Upon questioning of the Followers of the Spirit of Energy (the Menlis), it was learned that “The Pentad” mentioned in Menli the Adept’s notes referred to a prophecy long denied by the Followers. Menli the Historian claimed that there were always rumors of a group that waited for the day the prophecy foretold, when the artifacts of “The Pentad” would be reunited. That group was said to operate out of Britain, and was probably hiding “in plain sight”. After days of wandering the streets of Britain, some of Thorpe’s investigators came across a familiar, though mysterious, figure; Vincent, one of the Healer Guildmasters, was found near the monument to Lord Owain Surrey. When questioned of The Pentad, he cryptically responded that he would call for a meeting with Thorpe in the coming days.
Days turned into weeks, when finally word came to Thorpe that Vincent was ready to meet with the investigators. During this meeting, the nature of The Pentad was revealed (and the full name “The Pentad of Power” was learned). Many generations ago, there was a struggle for the artifacts of The Pentad. No one knew where they came from, or what they were made for, but their power was unquestioned. The Prophecy of the Pentad says that when the artifacts were united for the first time, true Chaos was introduced to the world. Further, it says that one day the “Bringer of Chaos” will seek to reunite the artifacts again, and wield the ultimate power – that over existence itself. Vincent is the leader of a sect of Healers that has sworn to keep watch for the Bringer of Chaos. He explains that every time there is conflict or battle in the world, it is likely one of his people is there watching (and acting as a Wandering Healer). There eyes and ears travel far, which is how they always seem to be in the “thick of things”. Vincent also reveals the only location he knows of that could hold one of the artifacts – the swamps of Nox Tereg.
For more information on this meeting, as well as Lieutenant Jeffrey’s feelings on the swamp, please read “Answers” posted on the EM Site.
Jeffrey and his group of brave volunteers ventured to the vile swamp of Nox Tereg in Ilshenar. There, they found a community of Lizardmen (the very same that tried to ruin one Mongbat couple’s Valentines Day) who protected the entrance to a passageway leading to an altar where a terrible Ancient Wyrm waited. Hidden beneath a pile of bones, was another passage that led deep underground to a cave filled with noxious water. There, Jeffrey’s group discovered another of the artifacts of The Pentad…being guarded by a Nox Dragon. Many fell to the dragon’s claws and poisonous attack, but the brave adventurers were successful, and delivered the artifact to Thorpe and Sir Andrew.
Following Jeffrey’s return, Thorpe held a meeting with his Investigators to determine the next course of action. It was revealed that each of the Artifacts of The Pentad was named; “Power” for the one stolen from Terra Sanctum (called “The Source of the Spirit of Energy” by the Menlis), “Balance” for the one recovered from Nox Tereg, and three yet to be found – “Spirit”, “Intelligence”, and “Health.” Given the nature of “Power” as an energy artifact, and the tendency for the sandals of “Balance” to poison all who wore them, the Investigators present theorized that all of the artifacts were somehow related to the five elemental powers. With this in mind, it was decided to search all areas of extreme cold. Investigators spread out across all lands, searching. In the mountain peaks of Ilshenar, frigid demon scouts were encountered, but no artifact was found. A search of Ice Dungeon found even more demons, but also a friend who seemed certain that no artifact was to be found there.
The search continued, until at last a strange lantern was found in Winter Spur in Tokuno. There, the intrepid Investigators met a strange being identifying herself as the “Keeper of the Cold.” The Keeper spoke strangely, and admitted she held one of the Artifacts of The Pentad. She would not hand it over, however, instead insisting she must be killed for it to be claimed. It seems the artifact was holding her captive of sorts, and she was bound to defend it to her death. The remaining Investigators bravely attacked The Keeper, but were soundly defeated. They returned to Thorpe, and filed their report.
Eager to recover one of the Artifacts, Jeffrey promptly organized a party to make the journey to Winter Spur. Clad in thick boots and furs, the adventurers departed for Tokuno by way of the moongate at West Britain Bank. The journey to Winter Spur was perilous, as they were attacked from the shadows by murderous ronin and terrible beast alike. Other, more reasonable parties witnessed the Britannian’s trek, as Jeffrey was confronted by a representative of the Empress at the entry to Winter Spur. The representative, Uki, insisted that Jeffrey return with her to Zento and that the party of adventurers go no further. Having led an armed force into a foreign land, Jeffrey saw little choice. He left with Uki, but not before quietly signalling the group to continue on once he had left.
The group trudged through the snow of Winter Spur to find the hanging lantern where the Keeper of the Cold could be summoned. Upon arriving, Ouija of Skara Brae and her companion, Ultrakill, stepped forward and challenged the mysterious guardian of the Artifact. Recognizing the duo as the ones who discovered her previously, the Keeper materialized in front of the group. Five lanterns appeared around her, and she instructed the Britannians to destroy her “guards” before engaging her. No sooner had someone asked “what guards?” did the wind begin to howl and the snow rise from beneath their feet – all about them elementals of ice rose. The adventurers set to work promptly – with each group of guards that fell, a lantern surrounding the Keeper shattered.
After a bitterly cold fight, the guards were all defeated, and the Keeper came forth once more. Before engaging the assembled attackers, the Keeper made one final warning:
Following this warning, the fight began. The Keeper of the Cold brought her terrible powers over the elements to bear upon Jeffrey’s group, and the white snow turned red with blood. Her powers were no match for the courage of the gathered adventurers, however, and she was defeated. Immediately after, a soft whisper could be heard as if it were carried by the frigid wind itself. Only a single word was said – “Finally.”
With the Keeper defeated, the group spread out to locate the Artifact. At this time, Jeffrey had returned from Zento, urging the group to quickly find the Artifact so that they could depart – he offered no details of what had transpired in Zento. Finally, it was discovered that the lantern hanging upon the tree that the Keeper seemingly emerged from could now be removed. Removing the lantern, Jeffrey fell to the snow briefly, and began to speak in a manner more suited to a scholar of the Lycaeum than a former Lieutenant of the Guard. Unnerved, he immediately wrapped it in a spare cloak and seemed to return to normal.
Moving towards the cave to exit Winter Spur, the Britannians were met with another surprise as a massive demon appeared before them. Identifying himself as Azmok, he demanded the group hand over the Artifact so that he may return it to his master. The brave adventurers denied Azmok, and were immediately set upon by numerous demons of all shapes and sizes, while Azmok himself disappeared. Weary from their encounter with the Keeper of the Cold, Jeffrey’s group still managed to fend the demons off without suffering any casualties. They quickly departed Winter Spur, and Tokuno, before any further surprises could arise.
The Britannian force returned home with their prize, but brought with them other complications. Irritated by the incursion into her lands, the Empress of Tokuno demanded a meeting with a delegation from Britannia. During a Council meeting, Governor Nails Warstein of New Magincia was chosen to lead this delegation. While Governor Warstein tended to the diplomatic front, Jeffrey and Thorpe uncovered more details pertaining to the identity of the mysterious enemy who sought the Artifacts of the Pentad. Thorpe tasked his Investigators with confirming his suspicions, as well as searching Benambra’s Vault for missed clues. The Investigators also searched for the next Artifact, this one pertaining to the elemental force of fire.
Though they were unsuccessful in locating the next Artifact, the Investigators did manage a few discoveries. Bytor, Thorpe’s highest rank Investigator, found a lantern hidden in a corner of the Vault that was previously missed. Its inscription read “Only accompanied by the blood of Benambra shall you receive entrance.” New Investigator Tobias Cardont and his fellow Rangers of Spiritwood also found the lantern, and surmised the message to mean a descendent of Benambra must be located and brought to the Vault. Finding a link between the old Council and the demons that seemed to be seeking the Artifacts on behalf of their master, many of the Investigators believed their mysterious enemy to be none other than Brother Lian Vinre, or Janus, come back from the dead. Unfortunately the truth would prove to be far worse.
Jeffrey called for a large gathering of adventurers in order to locate and retrieve the next Artifact. A large force answered the call, many of whom were part of the newly formed Town Guards. It was here that Thorpe revealed the identity of their enemy – Relvinian. The undead demon conjurer had not been seen since the defeat of the terrible Ix Tab, but it was now clear that he had been influencing events in the realm for some time through his pawn Lian Vinre. Grimly motivated, the adventurers set about finding the fire Artifact (known as “Spirit,” among other names). Reports of a very large group of demons near the coast of Fire Island brought the group there to investigate. They found a large dig underway, with demons burrowing at the foot of a volcano in search of the Artifact. As the adventurers and Town Guards engaged the demons, Jeffrey issued a challenge to Relvinian – to come forth and fight. The Demon Master obliged, and once again was seen walking the world of Sosaria. Lieutenant Jeffrey charged the undead fiend but was consumed by a raging wall of fire that had sprung from the ground. The shock and horror of the adventurers soon gave way to anger as they set upon Relvinian with fury. Taunting them, Relvinian made a few cryptic remarks regarding Jeffrey’s fate before disappearing.
Their leader seemingly slain and their enemy gone, the Britannian force turned their fury upon the remaining demons and slew them by the hundreds. Throughout the battle Relvinian would reappear – sometimes in front of warriors, sometimes in a tree, but always taunting the heroes. As demon after demon fell, the fighting slowed until it seemed none remained. Save one. With a bellow that sounded like the roar of a thousand furnaces, Azmok, one of Relvinian’s generals, appeared. Many fell in the great battle, but so to would Azmok. As the beast fell into a fiery heap, scorching the ground beneath it, Relvinian reappeared near one of the holes that had been dug. Reaching into the hole he pulled something out and held it over his head. A craftsman’s apron, made of unknown materials and shimmering in a deep red hue unfurled in his hands. Soon, Relvinian himself began to glow, as he laughed in sinister triumph. He taunted the Britannians once more, and bade them return to Britain and spread word that he would soon be claiming dominion over all the Kingdom. With this, a moongate opened, and he vanished once again. Cautiously stepping through, the heroes found themselves in Britain. Forlorn over the loss of the Lieutenant and their failure to retrieve the Artifact, they informed Detective Thorpe of what had happened.
With the Lieutenant seemingly lost, Thorpe continued on in the search for the final Artifact. With the help of his detectives, a link between Benambra and the former Commander of the Royal Guard, Olivia Kanlocke, is discovered. Convinced that Olivia is the key, they begin the search. She is successfully located, and agrees to accompany an armed Britannian force back to Benambra’s Vault where she is able to unlock a previously blocked passage (“only with the Blood of Benambra shall entrance be granted”). Upon entering, the Britannian adventurers are shocked at what they find – a decrepit old man sitting upon a throne of rock. Upon being approached by Olivia, the old man begins to speak, and his identity becomes quite clear – it is Benambra himself! Surviving for over three hundred years thanks to his handling of one of the Artifacts, he confirms Olivia’s heritage as his descendent. Furthermore, he says demons had just left this secret chamber, taking with them his diary as they search for the final Artifact. Olivia vows to defeat Relvininian, and Benambra releases his weak hold on life.
Realizing that the demons have probably learned enough of her family history to know where she was born (and also the likeliest hiding place for the fifth Artifact), Olivia leads the force of Britannians to Minoc. There, they found a city under siege by wave after wave of demons wielding fire, ice, and lightning. Rushing headlong into the fray, the adventurers rid Minoc of demons as Olivia secures the Artifact (now understood to be the Artifact representing “Health” and perhaps “Protection”). As the battle wound down, a scout appeared with a terrible message from Britain – King Blackthorn had been kidnapped! Returning to Britain, the adventurers (as well as members of the Royal Britannian Guard) learn that Relvinian himself appeared in the Castle and abducted the King (most likely aided by the power of the Artifacts he had in his possession). Bade to return to their homes and secure their towns and villages, the adventurers dispersed, fearful of what was to come.
One week following the King’s abduction, an emergency session of the Royal Council of Governors is called by Sir Andrew. It is there that a report is given by Tobias Cardont, a Ranger of Skara Brae and one of Thorpe’s newest investigators, regarding an appearance of “the imp” at a recent fair. It was said that the imp appeared during a contest for bards and troubadours and recited the following:Roses are red, Violets are blue. Relvinian hath said, To an early grave your King flew. But don’t be sad, For he you may recover. Bring the Artifacts of the Pentad, And a grim fate he may not suffer. Sadly my work is incomplete, A story yet to be finished. Uncertain is the fate you will meet, When CHAOS shall not diminish.
Cardont and the other Investigators believed the King (and possibly Jeffrey) to be trapped in Relvinian’s grave, deep beneath the Hedge Maze. After much discussion, the Council decided to exercise caution – they would attempt to rescue the King, but not involve the Artifacts. Sir Andrew, though initially agreeing with the majority of the Council, feared too greatly for the King’s safety. Recognizing the enemies he would make of some of the Governors, he secretly allowed Olivia to take the Artifacts, which, including her own, numbered three to Relvinian’s two.
The call went out for all available RBG Town Guards and all willing adventurers to follow Olivia to the Hedge Maze. Once there, Vincent assisted Olivia in opening a passage into Relvinian’s grave – a place all too familiar for some). Entering the grave, they were confronted with scores of demons and undead creatures. Fighting their way through the halls, it was not long before a cell was found. Inside, the King sat tied to a chair, seemingly unconscious. Next to him, looking haggard but otherwise unharmed, stood Lieutenant Jeffrey. Before long the gathered Guards and adventurers had the King and Jeffrey free. As a detachment of Guards escorted the recovered leaders back to Britain, the rest searched for Relvinian. The answer would once again arrive upon the wings of the imp, who appeared and told Olivia’s force that Relvinian could be found in the place the Artifacts of the Pentad had been created – he even opened a moongate to the spot. Though they believed it a trap, the adventurers pushed through the gate. Stepping out on the other side, they were surprised to find themselves in the land of Malas, amongst the Grimswold Ruins. There, surrounded by five pillars with a stone slab in the center, was Relvinian.
The Britannians, led by Olivia Kanlocke, charged the demon charmer. When they got close, however, something strange occurred. Frozen in place, Olivia watched helplessly as the Artifacts she carried were whisked from her body by invisible hands, drawn to the pedestals. It was then that they noticed that two of the pedestals were already occupied – by the Artifacts which Relvinian held.
It had begun.
With the Artifacts brought together once more, they would be capable of summoning the Pentad itself – a magical object of such immense power that none dared guess at its purpose. Relvinian’s trap had been sprung, and now the Britannians found themselves surrounded by demons. Many vanished in demon fire, and one by one the Artifacts vanished from their pedestals. Once all of the pedestals were empty, a blinding light shot from the starry Malas sky and engulfed the stone slab in the center of the pillars. The fighting stopped as something floated down the beam of pale blue light, coming to a rest on the slab. The light faded away, leaving a sextant that glowed in the same blue hue. Approaching it, neither Olivia nor Relvinian could claim the Pentad. But then, neither one of them was supposed to.
From the trees a familiar cackling could be heard. Olivia closed her eyes and sighed as she finally realized what was happening. The imp appeared once more, this time floating above the Pentad. With a demented smile, he scooped the Pentad up with his clawed hands as if he were simply picking up a bit of rubbish from the ground. He cackled more as he thanked Relvinian and the gathered Britannians for their help in gathering the Artifacts so that the Pentad may be recovered. He revealed that once summoned, the Pentad could reassemble the Artifacts from itself, though their powers would be diminished in order for the Pentad to remain. For their help, he promised to give the Britannians four of the Artifacts, with the fifth (that of “Spirit,” which was powered by the elemental fire) being given to Relvinian. After making a few cryptic comments about using the Pentad to “travel,” the imp disappeared once again.
Enraged at being manipulated, Relvinian called forth more demons, as well as his newest general – a twisted, undead Menli the Adept. The fighting lasted many hours, but the Britannian Guards and adventurers managed to defeat their enemies (though there was no further sign of Relvinian). They returned to Britain where they were thanked by the King.
One month after defeating Relvinian, and one year after the investigation into Benambra and the Artifacts of the Pentad began, Lieutenant Jeffrey organized a force to return to Terra Sanctum. Believing the Artifacts to still be too powerful to have all in one place, it was decided to return the Artifact of “Power” to the Menlis (or, the “Source of the Spirit of Energy,” as they called it). Upon arriving, however, they found the remote home of the Menlis to be under assault by the remnants of Relvinian’s demon army. The Lieutenant led a force across Terra Sanctum freeing captured Menlis and vanquishing their demon captors. They successfully returned the Artifact, and went home. It had been a long journey, but this part of the story finally came to a close.
Still, they knew the day would come when the next chapter of this story would be written.
For the epilogue to this arc, please read “Journey’s End.”
Last updated 6/12/14.
2012 Final Regular Season Standings – Archery
(as of 3/21/13)
|# of Wins|
|Jonah Black Heart||25.2||1|
|Cross Eyed Chris||10|
|A N A N||8|
This is a recap of the events, fiction, and in-game encounters that make up the story arc “The Path Forward” which began in March 2011 and ended in April 2012. This story follows the formation of a new Royal Council and the discovery of a new threat to Britannia. Please note that many of the discoveries that are detailed can still be examined (such as the mercenary camp) in game. The links provided vary in their importance to the core of the story – some are directly relevant whereas others help to properly contextualize the storyline.
After the defeat of Virtuebane, the realm experienced a period of relative peace. This peace came with a high cost, however, as the kingdom had lost its ruler, Dawn, as well as countless lives during the struggle against the great demon. Led by Olivia Kanlocke, the Commander of the Guard, the people of the realm were able to push Virtuebane back through his dimensional gate on the island of Magincia.
Though the kingdom existed without a monarch, it was not entirely without leaders. Commander Kanlocke and her second in command Lieutenant Jeffrey stood by with the Royal Britannian Guard, ready to act on all threats big and small. Typically it was Jeffrey who dispensed orders from his usual spot right outside the castle. Our story begins there, with the Royal Guards responding to a report of a missing healer (note this is just before the final defeat of Virtuebane). Read an account of this event, with an after mission report from one of the Guard’s regimental captains.
With the Guard doing an admirable job protecting the people of Britannia, the lack of a leader on the throne was not as much of a concern as it perhaps should have been. Some had begun to talk about installing a new system of government, and still others thought that perhaps Commander Kanlocke should become the new ruler. It wouldn’t be long, however, before the gears started moving and a strange summons went out to the nobles of the land, inviting them to take place in a new Royal Council.
While the nobles gathered inside the Castle, the Guard patrolled the city of Britain. A mercenary scout was found in one of the buildings on the edge of town, and he was brought to Commander Kanlocke who was coordinating the town defenses from the Emissary Hall. The scout revealed that an attack from the north road was imminent. The Commander ordered the bulk of the defenders to follow her to the north road where it leads into the woods while Lieutenant Jeffrey and a small group escorted the scout to a cell. Somehow, the scout managed to escape, knocking Jeffrey unconscious. The Guards encountered a small group of brigands on the north road and swiftly dispatched them. Confused as to how such a group thought it could take the town and storm the castle, the Commander soon had an answer as she was informed that a large mercenary force had entered the city through the sewers!
The battle was long, but the Guard had managed to subdue most of the attackers. Just when it seemed like the conflict was over, a figured clad head to toe in black armor came forth, wielding a giant axe. The town’s defenders struggled against him as he attacked with both magic and steel – yet seemed impervious to both. Just as it seemed there would be no hope of defeating this being, a strange man in monk’s robes came forth and cast a spell on the shadowy berserker. Suddenly he began to weaken! Moments later, the figure fell to the Guard, and the Commander thanked the monk for his help. He did not give his name, but explained he had come to Britain to learn more about the nobles and their intentions. He then proceeded to the castle.
The meeting took place safely in the Castle, but it would be sometime before what transpired in there would become known. In the meantime, the Guard continued to serve the people of Britannia. Commander Kanlocke soon had a new set of orders, including an investigation into the origin of the mercenaries that sought to disrupt the meeting in Britain. Once more we refer to the after action report of the Regimental Captain for Vesper for details.
Concerned that some doubt may have been cast upon her character, Commander Kanlocke confined herself largely to the Castle, leaving her Lieutenant in charge of the day to day activity of the Guard. There followed another short period where the realm seemed to be without conflict. Kasaven, the Elder Emissary, took his leave of the world and Emissary Adris was introduced as his replacement. To celebrate both Emissaries, a Summer festival was planned. Please refer to reporter extraordinaire Vallend’s brief. Though it seemed the concerns over nobles, strange monks, mercenaries, and questions of loyalty had been put aside, there was the occasional reminder that something was going on in Britannia (such as the sighting of “Mark” in Trinsic during the Summerfest Pub Crawl).
The festival had ended and there still was no news of what took place inside the meeting of nobles (though those who took place in the Festival of Masks or helped retrieve stolen gifts last year would be familiar with two of the new Council members). The silence would finally be broken, but by perhaps the unlikeliest of sources.
Scores of interested citizens managed to avoid detection by the Guard and listened to what Sherry had to say about the meeting. A full summary of what was said was recorded by Vallend. Soon after, many of the nobles that comprised the Council began showing up in their respective towns, willing to talk with any who found them. It was eventually revealed that the Council had chosen Brother Lian Vinre of New Magincia to serve as the High Councilor (he also happened to be mysterious monk who helped in the defense of Britain). Brother Vinre met on the steps of the Castle to field questions from concerned citizens. He spoke in earnest about the Council and its desire to protect the people and maintain peace.
One of the first things Brother Vinre did in his new position was to order the Guard to search the woods on the Skara Brae mainland for signs of a missing lord, Eamon MacTarnaghan, whose daughter sat on the Council. Lord MacTarnaghan, who is also the commander of the local Rangers, went missing while investigating reports of groups of mercenaries hiding in the forest. After a search of the forest, he was found in an underground cell that had been built underneath a farmhouse. During the search, there was a sighting of Vincent, the Guildmaster of the healers in Britain, as well as Mark. Trouble seemed to follow whenever these two were sighted, and this time was no exception as no sooner had Mark disappeared after being sighted did a group of mercenaries attack the group. Perhaps most troubling was that Mark seemed to know the Commander personally, calling her by her first name and saying he was “sorry”.
With doubt now being cast upon the Commander, the Council decided to relieve her of her duties and entertained the idea of recruiting help from outside the Guard. A follow up investigation was ordered, and under the command of Lieutenant Jeffrey, the Guard returned to Skara Brae to continue Lord MacTarnaghan’s investigation into rumored activity of an individual known only as “Janus”.
The Guard had no sooner begun their investigation when they were again attacked by mercenaries (after a stern warning to stay out of Janus’ affairs). The attack was merely a diversion, however, as word quickly came during the fighting that Skara Brae was under attack. The fighting in the island city’s streets was fierce, but the mercenaries were pushed back to the docks. When the Guard arrived at the docks, they were met with a startling sight – a hooded figure wielding the Commander’s sword fighting off a group of mercenaries while Mark launched a small ship. Having recognized the arrival of Jeffrey and the Guard, the hooded figure jumped from the docks into the moving boat. A report from Belle – the captain of the New Haven Regiment:
As a result of tonight’s battles and observations around the fighting and in Skara City itself, it seems that Commander Kanlocke of the Royal Guard is
either undercover and associating with troublemakers, or has gone over to the other side. There may be another explanation, but that is unknown. We
await further developments and may set out to sea for more investigation.
As a result of the sighting of the Commander, suspicions of her treason were all but confirmed. Command was given to Lt. Jeffrey on a temporary basis, and the Guard was ordered by the Council to avoid any direct investigation of Commander Kanlocke. Determined to get to the bottom of the situation (and clear the Commander’s name in the process), Jeffrey and the Guard reexamined past scenes of battle and mercenary encampments to determine if any clues had been overlooked. The search yielded little new information, though a strange bit of dirt was found in the underground cell where Lord Eamon had been kept, and the Guard determined a visit to Trinsic was in order based upon a mention of the city within one of the mercenary documents.
Lieutenant Jeffrey ordered the Guard to seek out Sir Kerwin in Trinsic, but to keep an eye open for anything strange as Trinsic had been the site of some odd occurrences. When the Guard found the old Knight, he seemed uncharacteristically rattled by the mention of Janus and the mention of Trinsic in the mercenary documents. He reluctantly agreed to discuss the matter, telling the Guards to meet him outside the side entrance to the city walls (he had a visitor whom he had to delay). The Guard waited at the designated spot for some time before a figure in dark robes showed. He introduced himself as Janus, saying that the Guard could finally stop searching for him. After some cryptic remarks regarding a prophecy and the leadership of Britannia being incapable of understanding what was about to happen, he disappeared. Of course, no sooner had Janus vanished than a great many demons arrived on the scene to do battle with the Guard.
Unaware of the developing situation, Lieutenant Jeffrey arrived via moongate and joined in the fighting. Soon enough, the demons were defeated and the Lieutenant was briefed on what had happened. Angry that Sir Kerwin still had not shown, he dismissed the Guard and returned to the city.
Weeks passed without further development before orders were sent to all Guards to report to Sir Andrew in Britain. The Guards arrived, many curious as to why they were reporting to a retired knight of the Council rather than the acting officer of the Royal Guard. It was revealed that the Lieutenant had never returned from Trinsic. The Guards were asked to put their concern aside for the moment as they had work to do. Their orders provided a welcome distraction, and they were successful in their assignments. Satisfaction quickly gave way to shock, however, as the night closed with a startling revelation. Bytor of the Vesper Regiment provided a thorough report of the events of the evening.
Weeks passed an there still had been no sighting of either the former Commander or Jeffrey. Lord Eamon, having fully recovered from his capture at the hands of Janus, found that the woods on the mainland of Skara Brae were crawling with mercenaries. He called for an investigation of the woods, in hopes of locating the base of operations for the criminal Janus and his forces. The search yielded the location of the mercenary base – underneath a small pond not too far from the Shrine of Spirituality. A follow-up mission sent scouts inside the base itself where they discovered a series of dangerous defenses, including strange mechanical devices that fired arrows at anyone who moved close enough. They also learned of a man (or beast) named Carver who guarded the armory. Though the other mercenaries spoke fearfully of Carver (our scouts spied upon their conversations), they noted his intense dislike of cold water.
Armed with the knowledge of the base’s defenses, an announcement went out – it was time to raid the base and finally defeat the forces of Janus. Upon arriving at Castle Britannia, it was announced that Brother Lian Vinre, the High Councilor of the Royal Council, would be leading the raid so that Sir Andrew could stay and defend Britain against the increasing amounts of raiders. He brought the raiding force to Skara Brae where Lord Eamon was standing by to brief everyone. With that done, a moongate was opened in the vicinity of the hidden base, and the attack began.
The casualty count was unfortunately high, but the invading force managed to fight though the mercenary defenders and reach the deepest level of their subterranean base. It was here, at the door to the base’s Armory (where Janus was said to be meeting with a traitor to the Royal Council) that they fought Carver. A being more beast than man, Carver laid waste to the initial attackers. But relying on the intelligence gathered by the scouts, the invading force of Guards and volunteers focused on bringing Cold-based attacks on the creature in order to defeat him.
Upon entering the Armory, the Guards were greeted with a grisly sight – the dead body of Sir Kerwin of Trinsic. Kneeling over him was the robed figure, Mark, who was on hand during previous engagements with the mercenaries, and whom Olivia Kanlocke had been seen assisting. This seemed to confirm the suspicions of many, including Brother Vinre, that Mark was in fact Janus and was therefor responsible for the attacks on many of the cities of the realm. As Janus noticed the group, he stepped towards Vinre who was already casting a great spell. In a flash, the leader of the mercenaries was dead.
Word spread quickly of the demise of Janus. On the following day, the former Commander of the Guard, Olivia Kanlocke, turned herself in to face a public trial for her actions.
Shortly after Kanlocke turned herself in, Brother Vinre announced a sentencing would be held in front of the Castle. Many were angered by the lack of a trial, including Council members Sir Andrew and Lord Cecil of Yew. Cecil was especially angered, using his superior knowledge of the law to argue against Vinre in front of the gathered citizenry. Vinre patiently listened, but ultimately disregarded the arguments against the proclaimed sentence – death. The confusion over Vinre’s stance was soon explained by the shocking arrival of Lieutenant Jeffrey and a small group of loyal Guards. Jeffrey revealed that he had been recovering from the attack against him some weeks earlier near Trinsic. Upon his recovery, he conducted a secret investigation into the deaths of Sir Kerwin and Mark. He uncovered the truth about the identify of Janus – that he was the same man who attacked him in Trinsic, and that Kerwin was duped into helping this man by supplying gold for the mercenary army. Kerwin realized what was going on, and called for Mark, who seemed to be a part of a group opposing Janus all along, to meet with him.
The meeting didn’t happen as planned, though, as Kerwin was already dead when Mark arrived. Kerwin had been killed by Janus who was the same man who then killed Mark, who tried to kill Jeffrey, and now sought to execute Commander Kanlocke – Lian Vinre.
As Vinre rose his voice in protest, Jeffrey spoke one final revelation – Mark was the Commander’s younger brother.
Realizing his deception was at an end, Vinre raised his hands in surrender. Just as he did so, however, Kanlocke broke free of her escort, and rushed towards Vinre with a dagger she had concealed. Before any protest could be heard, she plunged the dagger into Vinre. Keeled over and clutching the dagger in his stomach, Vinre began to laugh. He proclaimed that he was merely a pawn – a small part of a prophecy that was unfolding. He claimed that his master was coming, and that he would rule all of Sosaria. When asked who is master was, he cryptically replied “my names are his”, and as engulfed in a fire that stetched into the sky.
When the fire abated, Lian Vinre was gone, and in his place was a large demon. Suddenly all of Britain was under attack by demonic forces, and all assembled had to fight for their lives. The battle was fierce, but ultimately the demons were defeated. In the aftermath, it was discovered that Olivia Kanlocke had disappeared (though she was last seen locked in combat with a demon atop the Castle walls). The Council was disbanded, with each of its members retreating to their respective towns and all forms of central governance and support disappearing. The months ahead would prove to be a dark time, as the people of Britannia allowed their differences to divide them. Reunification would eventually occur, but the ominous threat of the one Vinre spoke of lingers in the minds of many who lived through these events.